A very simple way that anyone could make a little more money is by setting up your own local blog… That is to say, a blog devoted to your town, village, street, suburb, neighbourhood, estate, or whatever.
You can easily find local information free of charge and there are several ways you could make money .
Now as you probably know, a blog is a simple website, normally in diary format.
The beauty of blogging is that you don’t need any knowledge of website design, programming, or anything like that. There are various blogging ‘platforms’ you can use that will handle all the techie stuff for you.
And the best news is that most are free!
You could use your blog to talk about events of local interest, review local shops and restaurants, discuss issues affecting your area, and so on. If you enjoy photography, you could upload photos of local landmarks, gardens, shops, personalities, and so on as well.
To benefit from this opportunity, it will clearly help if you enjoy writing (though you don’t need to be Shakespeare) and are interested in your local community.
Curiosity and a lively mind are assets too, as is having the tenacity and self-discipline to keep updating the blog regularly in the early days while it’s establishing itself.
One big advantage of running a local blog is that, for many areas, there is little serious competition for the top search-engine spots.
A regularly updated blog, with your town’s name in the title and all the posts, has an excellent chance of appearing near the top of the search results for that name in Google and other search engines.
You are thus almost guaranteed traffic from people searching for more information about the area in question.
Of course, you’ll want to make money from your blog, and there are various ways of doing so. For example, you could run small ads from the Google AdSense network.
These ads are piped in automatically by Google, and are designed to be relevant to whatever is being discussed on the web page concerned. Any time someone clicks on one – whether or not they go on to make a purchase – a proportion of the advertiser’s fee goes to your account.
If you set up your blog using Google’s own free blogging platform at http://www.blogger.com/, approval for AdSense is normally automatic once you have a few posts published.
See www.google.com/adsense for more information and to apply.
There are many other possibilities. You could, for example, join an affiliate program and advertise products and services via your blog. Then any time someone clicks on your link and goes on to make a purchase, you would receive a percentage of the fee they pay in commission.
In tourist areas especially, you could join Amazon Associates (http://www.amazon.co.uk/) and advertise local guidebooks. And if you’re really enterprising, you could offer your own personal guided tours of the local attractions (admittedly, where I live this wouldn’t take long!).
You could also, once the blog has been going a while, ask local traders if they would like to advertise on it.
You could probably get some free publicity by writing to the letters page of your local paper telling readers about the new blog you have set up about the town. A small amount of paid advertising would help grow visitor numbers faster.
In my hometown, for example, we receive a free monthly brochure with ads from local traders. A quarter-page ad in this costs £25. Just one such ad for your blog would be seen by hundreds, maybe thousands, of local people.
If just one buys an ad on your blog for, say, £30 for three months, that will cover all your advertising costs and put you in profit straight away. I reckon most local businesses would pay regular money for a consistent spot
on a local website which is getting lots of traffic, so repeat business could prove very profitable.
You can also get benefits in kind as a local blogger.
For example, you might be invited to review a local restaurant in exchange for a free meal there. Or a furniture store might be persuaded to offer you a discount in exchange for running an ad or writing a feature about them. There is lots of scope for bartering here!
You could also, as time goes by, build a reputation as a local celebrity. Obviously, this may or may not appeal to you, but it will at least help to ensure that you learn all sorts of interesting snippets about your area, and meet new friends, neighbours and tradespeople.
If you’d like to see examples of some local blogs already running, here are a few I found when I was researching this article.
I’ve deliberately picked ones that look as though they are run by solo bloggers rather than the flashier sites sometimes set up by councils, community associations, and so forth.
The Langar & Barnstone Village Blog – http://www.lbvblog.org
Grasmere Village – http://grasmerevillage.wordpress.com
The Burntwood Blog – http://www.theburntwoodblog.com
The latter one actually covers my own hometown in somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner. And no, it’s not written by me!
If I set up a local blog – and it’s on my list of things to do when time permits – I will probably choose my local estate or parish. However, there is of course no law that you can’t create a competing blog if there is already one for your area.
A single local blog is unlikely to generate enough money to live on, but it could certainly provide a useful sideline income, and be an interesting and absorbing pastime as well.
Local blogging has been surprisingly slow to take off in my opinion, but it’s overlooked without good reason. Those who are willing to spend a little time and energy I’m sure could get good results. Now is surely the ideal time to capitalize on this enjoyable and easy-to-start business opportunity.
If you have any questions or comments please comment below and I’ll try and help in any way I can. If there is particular interest I could do a follow up on taking this idea forward if there is enough interest.
Until next time.
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Category: General Advice